The Authors of the Oregon Encyclopedia
Brennan P. Bajdek is an archaeologist with Archaeological Investigations Northwest, Inc. He holds a degree in Archaeological Studies from the University of Texas in Austin and received his M.A. from Texas A&M University’s Nautical Archaeology Program in 2012. He has over ten years of professional experience in archaeology and archaeological conservation throughout the southern and northwestern United States, as well as parts of Europe. He was the chief conservator of two 18-pounder carronades from the USS Shark, recovered from Arch Cape in 2008. The carronades are currently on display at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria.
Peggy Baldwin lives in Portland, and is a librarian and professional genealogist doing research for clients via her business Family Passages. She is a descendent of four lines of Oregon Trail pioneers and an Oregon history enthusiast. She graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Business Administration and has a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Oregon. She also attends annually the Institute of Historical and Genealogical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, taking courses in advanced genealogical research methods.
Val Ballestrem is a public historian and the education manager for the Bosco-Milligan Foundation/Architectural Heritage Center in Portland. A life-long Oregonian, he has a master’s degree in western U.S. history and public history from Portland State University.
Katrine Barber is associate professor of history at Portland State University. She teaches Pacific Northwest, western U.S. history, and public history. She is a member of the Native American Studies faculty and is the director of the Center for Columbia River History (www.ccrh.org), a consortium of PSU, Washington State University Vancouver, and the Washington State Historical Society. She left her home town of Portland, Oregon, for graduate studies at Washington State University, where she earned her doctorate in American Studies in 1999. She is the author of Death of Celilo Falls (University of Washington Press, 2005).
Dr. Barton H. Barbour teaches early North American and U.S. History at Boise State University and has published a number of books and articles about fur traders, Indians, and the U.S. government. His 2001 book, Fort Union and the Upper Missouri Fur Trade, was a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award for historical non-fiction. His recent biography, Jedediah Smith: No Ordinary Mountain Man, was published in April 2009 by the University of Oklahoma Press. Barbour is currently working on a book treating the fur trade era at Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
Jenna Barganski is a graduate student in history and public history at Portland State University. She is the current graduate research assistant for The Oregon Encyclopedia. Jenna specializes in Pacific Northwest history, specifically women's history in the nineteenth century.
Jean Barman has written extensively on the history of the Pacific Northwest. Among her publications are The West beyond the West: A History of British Columbia (3rd edition, University of Toronto Press, 2007); French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest (UBC Press, 2014), and Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest (University of Hawai’i Press, 2006), co-authored with Bruce McIntyre Watson. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, recipient of Washington State Historical Society’s Charles Gates Award jointly with Bruce Watson, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
John D. Barnes was born in Florence, Oregon, in 1951. After graduating from Oregon State University in 1977, his first career position in Idaho included efforts to protect two significant historical transportation routes that served early northwest pioneers: the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Oregon Trail. His interest in these types of historic resources continued when serving as the Cultural Resource Staff Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry. In this position he served as project leader for the development of policies and procedures for inventory, survey, and protection of cultural resources on state-owned forest lands.
Tim Barnes is a writer and poet who taught English and writing at Portland Community College. He has published several essays on C.E.S. Wood and is the co-editor of Wood Works: The Life and Writings of Charles Erskine Scott Wood. He is the editor of Friends of William Stafford: A Journal & Newsletter for Poets & Poetry.
Connie Hopkins Battaile (pronounced battle), an Oregonian for most of her life, is a retired reference librarian and author of The Oregon Book: Information A to Z (1998). She has been a Chautauqua speaker on “Outside of Ordinary Oregon,” pursues interests in native plants and geology, is a Hospice volunteer, and teaches a course on Final Arrangements in Ashland.
Edwin Battistella is professor of English and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as dean of the School of Arts & Letters and as interim provost. He is the author of Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology (Oxford University Press, 2014), A Year of New Words (Literary Ashland Press, 2013), Bad Language: Are Some Words Better Than Others? (Oxford University Press, 2005), Do You Make These Mistakes in English? The Story of Sherwin Cody’s Famous Language School (Oxford University Press, 2009), The Logic of Markedness (Oxford University Press, 1996) and Markedness: The Evaluative Superstructure of Language (SUNY Press, 1989).
Mark Beach earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and conducted post doctoral research at the Smithsonian Institution. He moved to Oregon after teaching at Cornell University and the University of Rochester. Mark lives near Manzanita on the coast, where he collects historical photos and teaches workshops about local history.
Anne Marie Becka is communications director at Willamette University College of Law. Prior to joining the law school in 2005, she was managing editor/production manager for a magazine publisher in Raleigh, N.C. She also worked in newsletter publishing in Chicago and book publishing in St. Louis. Throughout her career, she has held a number of corporate marketing communications positions. She earned master's degrees in print journalism (M.S.) and English literature (M.A.) and completed the Stanford University Professional Publishing Program.
Ralph Beebe holds a B.A. from George Fox University (1954), an M.Ed. from Linfield College (1955), and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (1969, 1972). He taught history at Willamette and Churchill high schools (1957-1974) and at George Fox (1974-1997), where he is now professor emeritus. He is a member of Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church and has written its history (A Garden of the Lord, 1968), the history of George Fox University (I, 1991), Blessed are the Peacemakers: The Life of a Palestinian Christian, 1990, 2003), and three other books.
George H. Bell was reared in Klamath Falls. After service in the U.S. Navy, he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in English from the University of Oregon. His career was in journalism, higher education, and state government. He was Oregon's Assistant Secretary of State during Tom McCall's two terms as governor. His op-ed pieces and feature stories have been published in many Northwest newspapers and magazines. He passed away in December 2015.
Jon Bell is a freelance writer and the author of On Mount Hood: A Biography of Oregon's Perilous Peak. His work has appeared in a range of publications, including Backpacker, the Oregonian, Portland Monthly, and Oregon Business. He graduated with a degree in history from Michigan State University in 1996. An avid outdoorsman, he is a past president of the Ptarmigans Mountaineering Club. He writes from his home in Lake Oswego, where he lives with his family.
A graduate of University of California Santa Barbara, Susan N. Bell moved to Salem from Hawaii in l981 and, while working as an Instructor at Chemeketa Community College, became intrigued by Oregon's rich history. She has written articles for Honolulu Magazine, the Hawaiian Journal of History, and contributed to the book Unforgettable True Stories of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In Oregon, she has written for salemhistory.org and is the current editor of Beaver Briefs, a quarterly of the Willamette Genealogical Society, through which she has published several articles. Her present projects include "Salem Yesterdays" and a history of Hawaiians in the Old Oregon Country.
Evedene Bennett is a retired teacher, singer, and music teacher who has lived in Albany for fifty-two years, engrossed in developing arts festivals. She has a degree in music, received a Fulbright scholarship to research beginning reading methods in Europe, and she performed and taped her thesis on old English folk music of the Appalachians for the University of Oregon Archives. She also leads a local writers' group, had an article about the mysterious death of Meriwether Lewis published in Private Investigator magazine on the 200th anniversary of his death, authored two genealogy books, is the former program chair of Friends of the Library, and serves as the Conversation Partner program manager for Crossroads International.
Laura Berg is a communication consultant based in Portland, Oregon. She studied Native American Studies at the University of Montana and holds an undergraduate degree in history from Portland State University. For more than a decade, she served as public information officer and manager for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Her work continues to involve environmental and American Indian related projects. She is editor of The First Oregonians (Oregon Council for the Humanities and OSU Press, 2007), which chronicles the history, heritage, and cultural continuity of the indigenous peoples of Oregon.
Tim Bergquist retired as Professor Emeritus of Quantitative Analysis at Northwest Christian University in May 2015 after 19 years of full-time teaching. He served 20 years in the US Air Force, retiring as a Major in 1991. He then completed a PhD at the University of Oregon in 1996. His academic background also includes a BS in Mathematics (University of Portland, 1971), a BA in History (Northwest Christian University, 2015), a MS in Statistics (University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 1973), a MBA (Santa Clara University, 1975), and a MS in Operations Research (Oregon State University, 1985). He is a member of six professional organizations, the co-author of one statistics textbook, and the author or co-author of over 20 articles and 50 conference papers. He received the President's Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership in 2013 and the Clio Award in History in 2015.
Jack Berry was a reporter and reviewer for the The Oregonian and a reporter and producer at KATU Television in Portland. Currently, he is an archivist for Oregon Public Broadcasting and is working on a book about Jim Pepper.
Ken Bilderback has lived in Oregon since 1980 and is the author of four books about Oregon history: Creek With No Name: How the West was Won (and Lost) in Gaston, Oregon; Fire in a Small Town; Walking to Forest Grove; and Law and Order at the end of The Oregon Trail. He was raised near Detroit, Michigan, graduated from the University of Dayton, and was a newspaper reporter and editor for four decades. He and his wife, Kris, reside in Gaston and write history columns for local newspapers and create educational programming for the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission.
An accomplished geologist, photographer, environmental advocate, and teacher, Ellen Morris Bishop is passionate about Oregon's geology. She holds a Ph.D. in Geology from Oregon State University, has researched Oregon's most ancient terranes, authored three books for the general public, including award-winning In Search of Ancient Oregon, and published multiple technical publications. She presently teaches and develops geology programs at Columbia Gorge Community College, and is Programs Director at the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute. Her photographic images portray the Northwest's most geologically-telling landscapes. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and 3 dogs.
Nick Blackbourn holds a Master's degree in Modern History from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and is currently a doctoral candidate. He is based in Portland, writing a dissertation on U.S. Cold War history during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.
Bowen Blair is an attorney whose career focused on protecting exceptional American landscapes and returning conservation lands to tribes. Blair served as executive director of Friends of Columbia Gorge from 1982-1988, and worked with Congress and the Oregon and Washington Governors to pass the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act. From 1989–2010, Blair founded the Trust for Public Land’s Oregon office, oversaw TPL’s land acquisition nationally, and started its Tribal & Native Lands Program. Blair was recently re-appointed by Governor Brown to the Columbia River Gorge Commission, elected Chair of the Commission, and is writing Nancy Russell’s biography.
Patricia L. Blair has worked with The Storytelling Guild (www.storytellinguild.org) Medford (Jackson County) to produce Children's Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon for 43 years. Pat, recipient of 2006 Jefferson Award and Oregon Library Association's Lampman Award, was Children's Librarian/Coordinator of Children's Services for Jackson County Library until 2001 and an OLA Life Member. The Medford Library's Children's Room is named for Pat Blair. She is a past board member of The Britt Music Festival, Carpenter Foundation, The Ginger Rodgers Theater, and Rogue Valley Art Association. She is a Life Member of RVAA and a member of Plein Air Painters of Oregon.
Richard L. Bland is a courtesy research archaeologist at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. His fieldwork has dealt with the prehistory of the Arctic/Subarctic and Oregon and the history of Russian America, focusing primarily on translation. His works on these regions consist of numerous published monographs, book chapters, and journal articles.
Andrea Blaser is an architectural historian and historian at Archaeological Investigations Northwest, Inc., in Portland, Oregon. She has been with the firm since graduating from the University of Oregon in 2008, where she earned a BA in Art History (with a focus area of architectural history) and an MS in Historic Preservation. A fifth-generation Oregonian, she enjoys working throughout the Pacific Northwest, documenting regional history as it is expressed through the built environment and structural remains.
Dr. Randy Blazak was a Professor of Sociology at Portland State University for twenty years and is currently on the faculty at the University of Oregon. He has been the chair of the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes since 2002. His research on hate groups has been widely published.
Dr. Willard B. Bleything completed his undergraduate studies (BS), graduate professional studies (OD), and two years of post-doctoral studies (MS) in children’s vision at Pacific University. Currently, he holds the rank of Distinguished University Professor of Optometry and Public Health, Emeritus-in-Residence, Pacific University. Here, he served for seventeen years as the Dean of Optometry and one year as Provost/Academic Vice-President. Other positions include past-president of the Oregon Optometric Assn., Oregon Board of Examiners in Optometry, and past Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Council of Optometry. He has over forty publications and has lectured extensively in Asia and Europe.
Frederick J. Blue received his BA at Yale University (1958) and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin (1965) in the field of 19th century American History. He has held positions at Youngstown State University and the University of Oregon, and has published several books, including The Free Soilers: Third-party Politics, 1848-54 (1973) and No Taint of Compromise: Crusaders in Antislavery Politics (2005).
Peter Boag, a native of Portland, traces his Oregon roots to the 1850s. He earned his B.A. at the University of Portland (1983), his Ph.D. in history at the University of Oregon (1988), and has taught as a professor at Idaho State University (1989-2002) and the University of Colorado, Boulder (2002-2009). Since 2009 he has held the Columbia Chair in the History of the American West at Washington State University. Professor Boag has written and published on the history and culture of the Pacific Northwest and the American West.
Richard "Dick" Bogle, a fifth-generation Oregonian, attended Hosford Elementary and Washington High schools in Portland before attending Oregon State College and Portland State College. In 1959, he became a Portland police officer, serving in several investigative capacities until he resigned in 1968 to become a news reporter at KATU-TV. He was elected to the Portland City Council in 1985 and served two four-year terms. Retiring in 1993, freelance writing and photography fill his time, but his passion is jazz. He was the host of a weekly jazz radio program on KMHD 89.1 FM and photographed many world-class jazz musicians. Dick Bogle passed away on February 25, 2010.
Darren Borgias, a conservation ecologist from Ashland, has worked for twenty-two years with The Nature Conservancy in southern Oregon. He earned an M.S. at Western Washington University and gained experience in natural resources with the National Park Service on the Channel Islands of southern California, the Catalina Island Marine Institute, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Darren helped establish and expand several natural area preserves, and he guides their ongoing stewardship. He works closely with stakeholders to restore important forest, woodland, and grassland landscapes and has written a number of technical reports in that vein.
Mary K. Bothwell is a retired educator who grew up in the West, lived for several years in the South Pacific, and has traveled widely throughout the world. At present, she resides in Portland, Oregon.
Daniel L. Boxberger is Professor of Anthropology at Western Washington University. He has been engaged in research on Pacific Northwest treaties for forty years. Since 2005 he has worked with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde on issues related to ratified and unratified treaties of western Oregon.
Bob Boyd has taught for thirty years in the Bend-LaPine School District and has been associated with the High Desert Museum since its opening in 1982. He is currently the Museum's western history curator and curated a number of exhibits that focus on the region's history, including Buckaroo! The Hispanic Heritage of the High Desert, Amerikanuak! Basques in the High Desert, Gum San: Land of the Golden Mountain, and A Century of Service: The U.S. Forest Service in the High Desert.
Robert Boyd is a contracting anthropologist, author, and affiliated research professor in the Anthropology Department at Portland State University. He received his PhD from the University of Washington in 1985, and his research speciality is the early contact history and culture of the Native Americans of Oregon and Washington states. He is author of People of The Dalles: the Indians of Wascopam Mission (1996) and The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: introduced infectious diseases and population decline among Northwest Coast Indians, 1774-1874(1999), editor of Indians, Fire, and the Land in the Pacific Northwest (1999), and co-editor of Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia (2013). He is currently working on a manuscript titled "Before Portland: the Native Americans' Wappato Valley," a historical ethnography of the Native people of the Portland Basin before removal in 1855-56.
Matthew Branch has written and presented a number of essays on radical environmentalism in the Pacific Northwest. He conducted an ethnography of tree sitters for his master's degree in folklore at the University of Oregon. During that project, he interviewed dozens of forest defenders, became involved with actions near Eugene, and participated in a tree-sit outside Arcata, California. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in cultural geography at Pennsylvania State University.
Charlene Brown is the co-founder and curator of the Willamina Museum of Local History and the author of eight books on local history. For six years, she researched and shared history through a weekly column, Slivers of History published in The Sun newspaper. In 2009, she received an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award for her efforts on behalf of the Willamina museum and the community's history.
Marc Brown is an attorney, employed by the Oregon Office of Public Defense Services as an appellate public defender. Marc is also an educator, having taught in the public affairs department at Washington State University Vancouver and, most recently, as a visiting professor at South China University of Technology College of Law in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China (as a Fulbright) and Shivaji University Law School in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India. Marc has written for numerous publications including the Oregon Historical Quarterly, the Oregon State Bar Bulletin, and the Oregon Defense Attorney.
Valerie Brown is an Oregon musician and writer. She was active in the Portland music scene throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, playing in the band Moonstone, working as a solo singer-songwriter, and as a member of the a cappella group Betty Romaine. She also worked as a modern dance accompanist at Reed College, Dancers’ Workshop, and Portland State University. In 1991, she earned a master’s degree at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Her thesis examined formal and informal censorship of popular music in the 1950s.
Daryl Sipko Browne is a retired public school teacher, musician and writer. She taught elementary music, second grade and kindergarten in Portland and Beaverton Public Schools and in Eagle, Idaho. Daryl is currently an Oregon Arts Watch contributing reviewer of choral, symphonic and opera productions in the Portland Metro area. She sings with Choro in Schola based in Portland.
Sheri Bartlett Browne, assistant professor of history at Tennessee State University, received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the history of women writers and historians in the West, literary biography, and intellectual history. She is the author of Eva Emery Dye: Romance with the West and is currently writing a cultural biography of Frances Fuller Victor.
Vicki Anne Bryden is long-time resident of Medford and a retired elementary teacher and library media specialist for Medford Schools. A historic preservation activist, she wrote the 1978 application for the South Oakdale Historic District for the National Trust of Historic Places. She is also a volunteer and board member for community historical and arts organizations. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from Southern Oregon College.
Susan Buce has researched, written and edited articles for Wasco County Historical Society and True West Magazine, and has photos published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly. She has served in various capacities with several historical organizations, including Wasco County/City of The Dalles Museum Commission for Fort Dalles Museum, Historic The Dalles Days, Fort Dalles Days, and at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum.
Bob Bumstead taught English at the junior high and high school levels in Eugene for thirty-three years. For the past twelve years he has taught as an assistant professor for Pacific University’s College of Education where he received the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Education.
Robert Bunting is professor of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. A fourth-generation Oregonian, he has written numerous publications on Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, including The Pacific Raincoast: Environment and Culture in an American Eden, 1778-1900 (University of Kansas, 1997), an article in The American West: Environmental Problems in America's Garden of Eden (Taylor & Francis, 2001), the introduction to Urling C. Coe’s Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon & the Changing West (OSU Press, 1996), and articles in Environmental History Review and Pacific Northwest Quarterly.
Raymond is a native of Portland, Oregon who grew up in the Northeast area of the city. Educated at Woodlawn, Gregory Heights Elementary Schools, and Jefferson High, soon proceeded in a professional career in the retail universe. In 1982, he became employed with Meier & Frank Department Stores where he remained for eight years at both Downtown and Lloyd Center locations. As his passion for retail and customer service increased in experience, he soon became linked to the small retailer of Jeffery Michaels in downtown Portland where he became assistant director for two years. In 1990, when the luxury retail of Saks Fifth Avenue made its debut in Portland, Raymond joined the team in the men’s sportswear area. It was at Saks Fifth Avenue where his career aspirations truly bloomed. Through his direct connections with the high-end luxury store, he soon became connected to the Portland social service agency of Cascade AIDS Project as one of their major fundraiser volunteers; and in 1995 and 1996, he served as creative director and chairperson of the wide-acclaim Annual Dress For Life Benefit, a fashion show and auction fundraiser event in the community.
By 1997, Raymond received the career promotion and regarded recognition of Fashion & Publicity Director of Saks Fifth Avenue. A position that led Raymond to become one of the most recognized individuals in the Portland retail and fashion industry. Through his efforts at Saks, Raymond was directly responsible for Public Relations of the local store, advertising, Special Events, style trends, and employee brand and product knowledge. In his role as P.R. Director, he also became widely connected with a hosts of other Portland social service agencies and non-profit organizations that included; the Portland Children’s Museum, the Parry Center for Children, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, Art for AIDS Sake, Fashion Group International, Fabric of Life, Portland Police Sunshine Division, New Avenues for Youth, Legacy Emanuel Hosptial, Meridian Park Medical Foundation, Portland Art Museum, Northwest African Ballet, Portland Ballet Theater with James Canfield, Junior League of Portland, The LINKS, Incorporated, the Portland Town Club, the Multnomah Atheltic Club’s Annual Christmas Fashion Show, The Waverly Country Club Beneift, and the Portland Golf Club. His notoriety and celebrity status in the community escalated as such where he became one of the premier authorities in style and taste, often being referred to as the “Sultan of Style” and Portland’s “Fashion Guru”; frequently being interviewed and covered in many of the local newspapers and television programs. His fashion shows were considered by his audiences as some of the best ever seen and shown in Portland at the time! During his time as P.R. Director, Raymond held a successful workplace attire learning program with area local colleges, Portland State, Oregon State and the University of Oregon.
As Saks expanded its Men’s Store business in Portland and built a freestanding location across the street, Raymond was once again promoted to head the first-floor designer men’s collections area of the store in 1999. Within two years, he was overseeing the entire 17,000-square foot business operation of three floors which included 25 direct report employees and areas of Men’s Tailored Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, Alterations, and Special Women’s sizes of Salon Z and Petites. In 2008, Raymond became the first male and African-American to hold the position of Fifth Avenue Club Director; a personalized shopping service in Portland. When Saks closed its brick and mortar footprint in 2010, Raymond left the store with twenty years of service and joined the Nordstrom downtown store team in American and European Women’s Designer Collections, but was soon wooed into a role as sales and service manager of the Macy’s Downtown men’s store. While at Macy's, he held various positions at the downtown, Washington Square and Lloyd Center locations. In the fall of 2016, Raymond joined the specialty store team of the Gap located at Lloyd Center Mall as their resident Customer Service Manager.
Outside of work, Raymond has a series of numerous extended passions that supports his personal growth, one being his long love affair, and active involvements in his local church, the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland. A place where he has a deep spiritual connection and a devout religious relationship and ever-growing bond with a large extended church family. In 1982, Raymond was coached and persuaded by then minister of music, Willa Williams, and longtime church members, Ann Garnett and Thelma Sylvester that led him to become the musical director of the Youth Choir; a choral ensemble composing of teenagers and young adults. According to Raymond, gospel music is like drinking a Red-Bull energy drink that acts as nutrients that energize his spirit and soul. During his rise in music, Raymond was deeply inspired by the local musical talents of; Darlene Warren, Dorothy Davis, Bobby Garnett, and Lorene Wilder. Through his involvements with the choir, he also directed the Mass Choir, played the organ and worked with the Baptist State Convention Music Department. In 2010, under the ministerial leadership of Reverend J.W. Matt Hennessee, Raymond seeded and started the Inspirational Choir at the church alongside the support of Celeste Calvin and Julianne Johnson-Weiss. Not long thereafter, he was directing the Male Chorus of the church for a year and a half with musicians Ken Berry and Janice Scroggins. During an episode of recognizing the musical accomplishments of Eva Miles and Ernest Hill III, in 2009, the Reunion Gospel Choir of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church was born. Since its conception, the Reunion Choir under Raymond’s leadership and passion has united hundreds of avid gospel singers from both the past and present, a group gathering together in song. In 2016, Raymond became the driving force behind organizing a community Children’s Junior Choir that consisted of some 60 children to sing for Easter Sunday.
Another one of Raymond’s passion is the preservation of African American history. This journey of passion began back in the eighties when he began researching his own family genealogy; tracing his family tree some seven generations back on all four sides. His success in this endeavor led him to become a local forum speaker on African American genealogy. In 1989, the Reverend O.B. Williams found Raymond’s energy, the level of organization, and thirst for history all the right vehicles to spearhead a project to document and preserve the history of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church’s 45th anniversary in 1990. The end result was the first published history book about the church. In preparing the project, Raymond gained a significant in-site to not only the church’s history, but also the greater community at large, coming into contact with hundreds of local African Americans in the area.
In 2010, Reverend J.W. Matt Hennessee appointed Raymond to the post of Church Archivist; the official caretaker of all things Vancouver Avenue. During his tenure, he’s spearheaded numerous church and community events that included the 100th Centennial Celebration of the historic building, 60th Palm Sunday Anniversary Celebration, and the Homecoming Celebration. In 2010, Raymond became the published author of the highly regarded book, “Vancouver Avenue” Yesterday, Today and Forever; a book receiving the recognition from the Library of Congress as a book of historical significance, as well as book joining the Patron’s list of the Multnomah County Library; a book gaining five-stars for relevance in local history. Currently, this book is on several shelves of both city and regional libraries. The success of the book led to a popular Oregon Historical Society Exhibit entitled “A Heartfelt Welcome” showcasing the richness of the church’s history; a project Raymond worked closely with. The exhibit received such an acclaimed showing and response, the Oregonian newspaper featured a story on the exhibition on the front page, “Relics of a Vibrant Faith” in August of 2015.
As a church historian, Raymond has become the resident individual who partakes and shares in the stories of the church and its numerous contributions to educate children, college students, community groups, and news organizations. In 2011, Raymond was the featured speaker at the City of Portland Archives Crawl Event where he provided tips and techniques in using the City’s Archival Library Collection. In March of 2013, Raymond became the facilitator of the Oregon Historical Society's oral narratives program that captured the stories of Portland African Americans. In 2015, he was a contributor to Oregon Public Broadcasting’s award-winning “Lift Every Voice” TV documentary on Portland’s African American history during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. Also in 2015, Raymond became project director of the World Arts Foundation’s History Book Project initiative in preserving Portland’s African American story; a task that was awarded $40,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust; the largest grant of the year that was prepared by Raymond. Because of his feats with this historical project, the World Art’s Foundation honored him with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long contributions to local history. In 2016, Raymond was successful in preparing and nominating the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church as a National Landmark on the Register of Historic Places in Oregon for its contributions to African American history and the church’s role and contributions. Earlier this year, Raymond along with Joe Nunn and educators of the Ivy School in Northeast Portland, created the first student walking tour that showcased African-American historical sites in the Albina neighborhood.
Presently, Raymond is working on preparing the documentation in getting the Billy Webb’s Elks Lodge listed on the Register of Historic Places in the state of Oregon, and the restoration endeavor of the lower level spaces of the Historic Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church that will house the first ever Portland African-American cultural museum. Raymond firmly believes that the conservation of the past helps us in the present to realize where we’ve come from, a position to reflect, rejoice and understand the experiences of both the challenges and the triumphs that prepare us for the present and hereafter.
Heather Burmeister earned an MA in History from Portland State University. Before college, she was active in the writing and performing arts community of Austin, Texas. Her life goals include the research, analysis, and writing of histories of underrepresented populations, especially GLBTQ histories, with an awareness of race, class, gender, and ability; to make these histories more accessible to this and future generations; to promote historical knowledge as important to personal, political, and community growth and sustenance. As a working cook, she also has an interest in the history of cooking as a profession.
Casey Bush is an administrator in the research department of the Legacy Health System. He is a well-known Portland poet. Casey is the senior editor of poetry and book reviews for The Bear Deluxe, an environmental arts magazine. He is also nonfiction editor for the on-line magazine Writers Dojo.
Virginia L. Butler is a Professor in the Anthropology Department at Portland State University. Her research focus is zooarchaeology, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, which she uses to examine long-term relationships between people and fish. Her interest in Cressman stems from her 1980s dissertation research investigating the salmon bones from The Dalles Roadcut site, which he excavated in the 1950s. Her geographic focus is western North America. She has published papers in a range of journals including American Antiquity, Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of World Prehistory, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Quaternary Research, and Ecology and Society.